Goldmann, Sidney

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GOLDMANN, SIDNEY (1903–1983), U.S. jurist and Jewish civic leader. When he died, an editorial in the local (Trenton) newspaper said that Goldmann was a respected historian, a community leader of tremendous stature, and a brilliant judge. Born in Trenton, New Jersey, of immigrant parents, Goldmann graduated from Harvard College with a brilliant record as a mathematician. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1927, he practiced law in Trenton, where he was appointed city attorney and acting city manager. From 1942 to 1944 he was executive secretary to Governor Charles Edison. He resigned this position to become New Jersey State Librarian, and after three years he became head of the New Jersey State Archives and History Bureau. In 1947, when work began on a new constitution for the State of New Jersey, he became librarian and archivist for the State Constitutional Convention and chairman of the Governor's Commission for Preparatory Research for the Constitutional Convention, and at the same time he became a member of the New Jersey Commission of Revision of Statutes. At the end of the convention, he edited its proceedings in five volumes. His contributions to the new constitution of the State of New Jersey were inestimable.

In 1949 Goldmann started a new career. He was appointed Standing Master of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and two years later he was named a judge of the state's Superior Court, and in 1951 he was assigned to its Appellate Division. From 1954 to 1971 he served as presiding judge of the court, and for two years he was also the court's administrative judge. He retired in 1971, at age 68. He then became a member of the Supreme Court Committee on opinions and chairman of the State Election Law Enforcement Commission. He served frequently as special hearing commissioner in important public-interest cases. He edited 116 volumes of court cases and 43 volumes of New Jersey Equity Reports. When he retired from the bench in 1971, he estimated that he had written over 2,000 judicial opinions.

Goldmann was known as a progressive judge. While giving due weight to judicial precedents, he was not timid about striking out along a new path, and at least one of his opinions was cited with approval several times by the United States Supreme Court.

Goldmann was active in Trenton's public affairs as a trustee of the Public Library, head of the city's Council of Social Agencies, president of the Trenton Council of Human Relations, cofounder of the Trenton Symphony Orchestra, coauthor of a history of the city – indeed, he was identified with almost every aspect of the civic life of his community.

At the same time he was Trenton's leading Jewish citizen. He served as president of the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Service, and the home for the aged. He was active in the American Jewish Committee and was a life member of its Board of Governors.

A measure of the esteem in which he was held may be seen in the fact that when he retired from the bench, three former governors spoke at the dinner in his honor.

[Milton Ridvas Konvitz (2nd ed.)]